Tips and information on starting a new juvenile firesetter intervention program.
- Make sure the head of your agency is on board with starting a program.
- Train the program coordinator or manager, as well as other staff working on the program. To effectively intervene with firesetters, it is critical to understand the demographics and motivations behind firesetting; the most useful intake, interviewing, and intervention techniques; and how to build coalitions.
- Many trainings and conferences are listed on the Juvenile Firesetting Upcoming Events page on The Idea Bank’s Web site. The SOS Fires program Web site, also has a comprehensive listing of classes and other resources.
The most comprehensive courses on juvenile firesetting are the National Fire Academy’s Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Specialist I and II courses. These courses can be taken at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD, or regionally. Please visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/nfa/ to find out when and where these courses are happening.
- Identify agencies in your community that should be involved with your coalition. Good agencies to start with include: law enforcement, juvenile courts, schools, behavioral health professionals, hospitals and clinics, parenting groups, etc.
- Outreach to these agencies. Establish a reliable referral network for education and behavioral health needs.
- Train staff from other agencies that will be working on your program.
- Track the child or adolescent participants in your program to help ensure continuity of care. A good database can be a big help. Check out Fire F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Free Single Site Database. …
- Evaluate program success by checking in with partner agencies, tracking recidivism, surveying participants, etc.